View Full Version : This Autumn

October 2nd, 2010, 01:07 AM
Its a golden October with clouds as soft as feathered dandelions. The town bustles with cloaked people making their way home against the wind. No one can think straight in this kind of time. Not of life or death or worries, just of how beautiful it is. Just of how the fallen leaves crisp beneath their shoes and how their tongue warms at the touch of fresh cider. No one wants to wander under the broken bridges where shadows plunder anything and everything that is vibrant.
In a lifetime no one quite knows anyone as vibrant as he was. When my mother died, the first piece of hope I found was his soft, warm hands entwined in mine. His name was Sailor. We were 16 and there were stars in our eyes, and we loved each other. We walked through paths of orange leaves on autumn days like today. His dark hair was swept back and there was always a smile, loving, reassuring, treasuring. I always thought about how I would never want to leave that smile.
It was not common for him to be sad. I mean, not in the way that it takes over you. He always felt for people who went through hard times or losses, and once in a while I could see a tear coming on during a particularly heart-wrenching part of a movie. But he would never let it get to him. Life was an adventure, and it was beautiful.
But that day he stood on my doorstep at 5 in the morning saying Addie, I need you. His eyes were swollen. I didnt know what to say.
We just walked a while, and tried to make subtle giggles as we tried to step on every crunchy leaf we could find. When the coffee shop opened I bought him a cinnamon roll and told him with my eyes that I cared. He smiled. But it was a short smile.
We were fine for the next few months, close like normal. But throughout that time, he kept showing up with swollen, cried-out eyes. The third time, I asked what was wrong, and he said oh, the normal stuff. He saw my puzzled look.
Wellmy parents hate each other and theyre getting a divorce. Happens to everyone. With that he let his head fall into his hands and started sobbing. I stared at him wide-eyed.
Oh, youll be okay, Sailor, because I love you, I said, stroking his hair. But he just kept sobbing. He looked up and said But will it really last, Addie? Will you stay with me?
Of course I will. I said. He seemed to almost ignore me.
The world sure romanticizes divorce he said. They talk about how it can be a good thing, a new start, you know? But its not. I look in my mothers eyes and shes just an empty hole. If love is what Im living for, Im not going to have it just to lose it all in the end. Im not going to live and then just die. He stared intently into my eyes and slowly pushed my hand away. Im not going to be an empty hole.
He walked and I heard the leaves crunch and he didnt look back.
The next two years, he barely looked at me. He wore his hair long and his expression thin. I saw him walking the same path we always took but he was alone, and he didnt care about the leaves. He just walked.
My friend Nana was sleeping over and we were sipping hot cocoa because my thermostat wasnt working. I remember we were watching some 1980s movie and got bored so we switched it to the news. Next thing I knew, I was looking at Sailors shadowed face on the screen. The news lady was saying something about drugs and jail and another man commented with but hes so young! Whats happening to the kids these days?
That was my Sailor, and hes still mine. I still love him and I want his smile and warm hands and starry eyes. I wrote him a letter and told him that, down to the very last word. I knew he might not get it, because hes locked up and I dont know how things work over there.
And now its a golden October. I got a letter in his writing, and I opened it with haste.
Addie, I didnt know how to live when the most important people in my life had failed me. I didnt know how to make love last when all Ive ever known is what Ive lived with. I was afraid. Im sorry.
Were all empty holes when we dont keep on loving.